Nuclear-tipped missiles reach the enemy at various altitudes. The goal is to irritate or evade missile defense systems. © Heritage Foundation
Warnings before eastward expansion: Nato's share of responsibility
by Christian Müller
Already Boris Yeltsin was strictly against a NATO admission of the former Eastern Bloc countries. Some Western experts as well.
[This article published on 4/22/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.infosperber.ch/politik/vor-der-osterweiterung-wurde-gewarnt-mitverantwortung-der-nato/.]
upg. Well-known voices were against Nato extending to Russia's borders because this was unacceptable to Russia and therefore a war was imminent. Russia has now indeed unleashed a fearsome war. However, the early warnings are not conceded that their dire fears came true. It must not be admitted that the USA and NATO may bear a share of the responsibility for this war and therefore turn the tables: Russia's war of aggression is proof that Putin is an unpredictable and nefarious dictator who could never have been trusted. Anyone who warned against an eastward expansion of NATO, who did not want to rearm more strongly, or who supported Nord Stream 2, is labeled a "naïve Putin-understanding".
Among those now defamed are some well-known personalities. Christian Müller recalls them with original quotes. With his permission we take over the contribution from "Globalbridge.ch", shortened by the original English quotes and by his concluding personal comment.
As president, Boris Yeltsin warned of a division of the European continent
Since 1994, Russian, U.S. and other top politicians and political scientists have explicitly warned against NATO's eastward expansion. But Bill Clinton wanted the expansion - unspoken, but clearly recognizable against Russia.
On the Russian side, then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned as early as Dec. 5, 1994, at an international summit in Budapest. That was a little more than three years after the counter-alliance to NATO, the Warsaw Pact, had been voluntarily dissolved by the Russian side. His warning was published on the front page of the "New York Times" on December 6, 1994.
On the front page of the "New York Times" of December 6, 1994: Boris Yeltsin warns against an eastward expansion of NATO. © NYT
A few months later, in May 1995, at the "50th anniversary of the end of World War II" celebrations in Moscow, Boris Yeltsin again warned his U.S. counterpart Bill Clinton:
"If I agreed that the borders of NATO should be extended to the borders of Russia, it would be a betrayal of the Russian people."
The details of this statement can be found in the now publicly available U.S. National Security Archive.
The "most fatal mistake"
Warnings were also issued in the U.S. - by highly prominent figures. George F. Kennan, a highly educated historian and diplomat who spoke German and Russian in addition to his native English, and who himself served at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1933 to 1937, warned in drastic terms in the "New York Times" on February 5, 1997:
"An expansion of NATO would be the most disastrous mistake in American policy in the entire post-Cold War era. Such a decision can be expected to fuel nationalist, anti-Western and militarist tendencies in Russian opinion ... The Russians are little impressed by American assurances that NATO expansion would take place without hostile intentions. They would see their prestige (which always comes first in Russian opinion) and security interests as being compromised."
"The most profound strategic mistake"
Jack F. Matlock Jr, the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, also warned in equally clear terms:
"In 1997, when the question of admitting more NATO members arose, I was asked to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In my opening remarks, I made the following statement: 'I believe the Administration's recommendation to admit new members to NATO at this time is misguided. If adopted by the United States Senate, it could go down in history as the greatest strategic blunder since the end of the Cold War. Far from improving the security of the United States, its allies, and states seeking to join the alliance, it could set off a chain of events that could lead to the greatest security threat to this nation since the collapse of the Soviet Union.'"
William Perry, U.S. secretary of defense under Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1997, also argued for other ways to provide security for Europe than with NATO expansion.
"The nascent European Union could have been the channel to consolidate democratic development in post-Soviet countries. Or Europe could have engaged through the multinational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or even by focusing on closer relations with individual countries. But Washington chose NATO."
In his memoir, William Perry mentions he almost resigned over Washington's decision to expand NATO.
"An expanded Nato is a terrible, potentially disastrous idea"
Ted Galen Carpenter, former director of the "Cato Institute" in the USA and author of twelve books, including "Nato: The Dangerous Dinosaur" (2019), wrote the article "The Folly of Nato Enlargement" in 1997. In it are the following statements:
"The expansion of the alliance to Russia's borders threatens to poison Moscow's relations with the West and lead to dangerous confrontations. Extending security commitments to countries in Russia's geopolitical 'backyard' virtually invites new problems."
"Clinton administration officials and other supporters of NATO expansion say they are baffled by Moscow's hostile reaction. But even the most peaceable Russian leader would find it difficult to tolerate a U.S.-dominated military alliance on his country's western border."
"During the Cold War, Western leaders could credibly argue that the alliance served only to protect the territory of member states from attack. However, as NATO has ventured into 'out of area' operations, most notably in Bosnia, and prominent supporters of the alliance such as former Secretary of State James Baker argue that NATO should intervene 'anywhere and under any circumstances' when peace and stability in Europe are threatened, the alliance now clearly has offensive as well as defensive objectives."
"An expanded NATO is a terrible, potentially disastrous idea. Instead of healing the wounds of the Cold War, it threatens to create a new division of Europe and a dangerous set of security commitments for the United States."
On December 14, 2013, U.S. Senator John McCain was in Kiev talking with two Ukrainian politicians, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (pictured left) and Oleh Tyahnybok (pictured center), the leader of the radical right-wing nationalist party Svoboda. Two days later, on December 16, 2013, McCain gave a speech at the Maidan tribune in Kiev, assuring protesters "The United States is with you." Two months later, on February 22, 2014, the legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted and Yatsenyuk became the new Prime Minister. © AP
No extenuating circumstances for a war of aggression in violation of international law
upg. Without Nato's eastward expansion, this war might not have happened. But Nato's eastward expansion and preparations for Ukraine's accession to Nato are no justification, not even an extenuating circumstance, for the war that is now raging. Vladimir Putin alone bears the blame for the war of aggression, which is contrary to international law.
Without the unilateral peace treaty of Versailles and the world economic crisis starting in 1929, World War II might not have happened. But the sole blame of World War II is borne by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Without the 9/11 attack, the "wars on terror," especially against Afghanistan and Iraq, might not have occurred. But the sole blame for these wars of aggression, which violate international law, lies with NATO and the United States.
"Most of the responsibility for the crisis".
John J. Mearsheimer, a professor of political science specializing in international relations at the University of Chicago, published a long article in the fall of 2014 in the U.S. monthly magazine Foreign Affairs entitled "Why Is the Ukraine Crisis the West's Fault?" from which a few passages are quoted here:
"The United States and its European allies bear most of the responsibility for the crisis. The root of the evil is NATO enlargement, the central element of a broader strategy to pull Ukraine out of Russia's orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, EU enlargement to the East and Western support for the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine-beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004-were also crucial elements. Since the mid-1990s, the Russian leadership has strongly opposed NATO enlargement and has made it clear in recent years that it would not stand idly by as its strategically important neighbor became a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine's democratically elected and pro-Russian president - which he rightly called a 'coup' - was the last straw."
"No Russian leader would tolerate a military alliance that until recently was Moscow's mortal enemy invading Ukraine. Nor would any Russian leader stand idly by while the West set up a government there that wants to integrate Ukraine into the West."
"Washington may not like Moscow's position, but it should understand the logic behind it. It's geopolitics 101: Great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their own territory. After all, the United States does not tolerate distant great powers stationing military forces anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, let alone on its borders. Imagine the outrage in Washington if China built a formidable military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico in it."
"You also hear the claim that Ukraine has the right to determine who it wants to ally with and the Russians have no right to prevent Kiev from joining the West. This is a dangerous way for Ukraine to think about its foreign policy choices. The sad truth is that might makes right when great power politics is involved. Abstract rights like the right to self-determination are largely meaningless when powerful states are at odds with weaker states. Did Cuba have the right to enter into a military alliance with the Soviet Union during the Cold War? The United States certainly did not see it that way, and the Russians feel the same way about Ukraine joining the West. It is in Ukraine's interest to understand these facts and be cautious in dealing with its more powerful neighbor."
"Even if one rejects this analysis and believes that Ukraine has the right to apply to join the EU and NATO, the fact remains that the United States and its European allies have the right to reject these applications ... Satisfying the dreams of some Ukrainians is not worth the hostility and strife it will cause, especially for the Ukrainian people."
"The United States and its European allies now face a choice with respect to Ukraine. They can continue their current policy, which would intensify hostilities with Russia and destroy Ukraine - a scenario that would leave everyone a loser. Or they can take a different path and work for a prosperous but neutral Ukraine that poses no threat to Russia and allows the West to improve its relations with Moscow. With that approach, all sides would win."
John J. Mearsheimer had written all this back in the fall of 2014. The full article can be read or downloaded here. His similarly worded talk to students here. Mearsheimer has now after Russia's attack on Ukraine, publicly announced that he has this opinion expressed then also today and that the latest situation has confirmed his forecast yes.
In the same year 2014, former Secretary of State and foreign policy advisor to several US presidents Henry Kissinger had also literally stated:
"Ukraine should not become a NATO member, a position I held seven years ago when it was last an issue."
Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the best-known intellectuals in the United States, warned in 2015 on the occasion of the Euromaidan in Kiev against the expansion of NATO to Ukraine:
"We can imagine, for example, how the U.S. would have reacted during the Cold War if the Warsaw Pact had expanded to Latin America and Mexico and Canada were now planning to join the Warsaw Pact."
U.S. Russian studies professor emeritus at Princeton University and New York University Stephen F. Cohen analyzed the consequences of NATO's eastward expansion in 2017:
"NATO enlargement has also led to political-ideological uncertainties. Nato's incessant and ubiquitous media presence and its lobbying in Western capitals, especially in the United States, have been a major driver of the new Cold War and rampant Russophobia. One dangerous result is the near end of U.S. diplomacy toward Russia and the almost complete militarization of U.S.-Russian relations. That alone is a deep source of insecurity, even possible war with Russia."
"The reason for NATO expansion is Russia"
But top politicians outside Russia, outside the U.S. and outside Europe, top politicians who closely watched the geopolitical situation around Europe and Russia from the other side of the world, also judged NATO's eastward expansion to be extremely dangerous. As an example, John Paul Keating - who was Australia's prime minister from 1991 to 1996 - was quoted as holding a seminar on "An Outlook on Europe" at the "University of New South Wales" in Sidney as early as September 1997. Again, a few quotes from his analysis:
"I believe that the decision to expand NATO is a big security mistake in Europe."
"The decision to expand NATO by inviting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to participate and holding it out to others - in other words, to move Europe's military demarcation line to the borders of the former Soviet Union - is, in my view, a mistake that ends up being on a par with the strategic miscalculations that prevented Germany from taking its full place in the international system at the beginning of this century."
"Under Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russians conceded that East Germany could remain in NATO as part of a unified Germany. But now, just half a dozen years later, NATO has moved to Ukraine's western border. This message can be read in only one way: Although Russia has become a democracy, in the consciousness of Western Europe it remains the state to watch, the potential enemy."
"Whatever window-dressing the Permanent Joint NATO-Russia Council does, everyone knows that Russia is the reason for NATO enlargement."
... but the U.S. president wanted to know better
Despite all warnings, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were admitted to Nato on March 12, 1999, thus actively launching Nato's eastward expansion toward Russia. And since then, eleven more countries on or near the Russian border have been admitted to NATO. After the U.S. and other Nato countries supplied Ukraine with more and more weapons and senior U.S. military officers instructed and trained the Ukrainian army in warfare for years and were even particularly proud of these trainings, Russia demanded security guarantees from the U.S. and from Nato in December 2021. Both refused verbally and then in writing. Both refused to provide appropriate guarantees. And both refused to assure that Ukraine would never be admitted to NATO. They did the opposite: they accelerated and even intensified arms deliveries to Ukraine. And the Kiev army and militias cooperating with it launched a new wave of bombardments in the civil war in the Donbass at the instigation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj.
Explosions in the Donbass
Attacks against the population in Donbass increased sharply in February 2022.
UPG. Major Western media provided information about the Ukrainian attacks against the civilian population in the Donbass, which intensified sharply during February 2022 before the start of the war, at most in passing.
It is the task of historians to investigate causes. The warnings of NATO's eastward expansion mentioned here are part of the puzzle that historians must piece together.
The U.S., NATO, and with them several major media are of course not interested in recalling these voices of the warners and at best admitting that this war might have been avoidable. Rather, the warners are to be forgotten as "naïve Putin misunderstanders".
Hanspeter Gysin, Basel
on 04/24/2022 at 5:04 pm
War has its cause in the general competitive economy in which it is not about everyone doing well but about one winning and the other losing. The war begins with the political, economic and military constriction of the competitor. Politically, he is isolated by the media, economically weakened, militarily threatened. If the conquest of coveted raw materials, cheap labor and new sales markets succeeds without the use of armed force, it is also cheaper. Only those who have nuclear weapons are reasonably safe from direct attack. So the geopolitical competition usually takes place on the territory of the nuclear have-nots. This is not about good or evil, it is about having or not having. It is about the capital, which must multiply perpetually, because it cannot do otherwise.
Alice Schwarzer on war: "Negotiate and peace now!"
Men forcibly recruited on both sides and conscripted to war. Where there are heroes, rape and killing are not far away.
[This interview published on 4/21/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.infosperber.ch/frau-mann/abtreibung/alice-schwarzer-zum-krieg-verhandeln-und-frieden-jetzt/.]
On her Emma homepage, women's rights activist Alice Schwarzer asks, "Why must more people die and cities be destroyed every day - if a compromise is inevitable? Why isn't it being made now? And what about the forcibly recruited men between 18 and 60? And the fleeing women and the human traffickers who lie in wait for them?"
"War is war"
He said the images of destroyed cities and massacres are hard to bear, even for those of us who are safe. The perpetrators are probably Chechen mercenaries as well as Russian soldiers. But Ukrainian soldiers have also been proven to have deliberately killed Russian prisoners: "War is war.
The fleeing women come alone: "The men have been conscripted by the Ukrainian president qua gender." No man between the ages of 18 and 60 was allowed to leave the country, he said. All of them are heroes. First and foremost, President Selensky himself, who is willing to die for his country, even for the freedom of the entire West: "Those in the West who don't want to die are 'weaklings' for him," Schwarzer writes.
Putin, he says, is covering Ukraine with a brutal war of aggression and also talks about a "truly great heroism" of his soldiers. But many of them are poor socks, writes Schwarzer: "They are brutalized in their army, don't get enough to eat, and many a time didn't even know they were being sent to war against Ukraine. But woe betide them when they are let loose. Then they loot and rape. On their own? On orders?"
"Heroes? - No thanks," says Schwarzer: "Where there are heroes, the raped and the killing are not far away."
"A compromise has long been due"
To put an end to killing and raping, "a very early compromise would have been right." For such a compromise would probably have to be reached in the end anyway. It would probably look like this: "A NATO-free Ukraine and a special status for the Donbas." But, he said, the Ukrainians could improve their "negotiating position" thanks to their maximum defensibility.
"At what cost?" asks Schwarzer: "There are already thousands of dead, on both sides."
"Today, Putin seems unavailable"
Alice Schwarzer surmises how the current hardening and inhumanity of Putin could have come about: "Because NATO moved ever closer to Russia's borders? Because in the fall of 2021 Selensky called for Ukraine to join NATO, which shares a border of 2,295 kilometers with Russia? Just imagine if Russian missiles were stationed in Mexico on the border with the United States ..."
Today, Putin seems unreachable, he said, "This is not only the horror for Ukraine. It is also dragging Russia into the abyss. And it threatens the West. Therefore, there is only one way: negotiate. Now!"
"Fortunately, the chancellor is still staying calm"
For Schwarzer, it is "high time for negotiations with the president of the world's second most powerful nuclear power, with Putin." Because it is not only the small Ukraine that has long been threatened. Germany is already tinkering with a military "security umbrella". The interior minister is planning to reinforce old bunkers and subway shafts. "At the same time, brash, so-called critical journalists do not stop demanding from politicians: More weapons for Ukraine! And immediate stop of gas supplies! To our great fortune, the chancellor remains stoically calm. Until now. Don't his critics even suspect that we could stumble into a 3rd world war? Don't they want to understand that we had better leave it at providing maximum human aid, for Ukraine as well as for the refugees?"
How this is possible, he said, is just demonstrated by thousands of female citizens of Ukraine's neighboring countries, including Germany: "Whereby it is no coincidence that on the front line of life are women - and on the front line of death are men."
Ukraine between East and West: Now under attack from Russia
Ukraine is becoming a victim of geopolitical interests. NATO wanted even closer to Russia. Russia is waging a ruthless war of aggression and disregarding the international law of war.
Judith Hauptlin Schneider, Oberegg AI
on 22.04.2022 at 11:50 am
Thank you old mastermind Alice Schwarzer for the clear, appropriate words.
People like her would have to sit down and negotiate with Putin and Selenskyj.
For example, Alice Schwarzer could be joined by Angela Merkel, Emanuel Macron, Prince Charles and other people with vision and courage to work out a peace treaty in which no one loses face. It would need a longer ceasefire and a closed meeting (without media accompaniment) of the war leaders and mediators. How about a kind of "Congress of Vienna", e.g. in an English castle?
It would not be the powerful who would be in demand, but people with heart and sensitivity - and I deny this to almost all women and men who currently occupy positions of power. It should be about achieving peace, not about making a name for oneself.
None of the rearmers, warmongers and oil-pourers would have any business in such negotiations - but real court jesters.